The Familiar Strange · Ep #78 Alternative Healing Practises & The Social Status of Shopping Centres: This Month on TFS This week we’d like to introduce you to our newest Familiar Stranger, Ruonan Chen! Ruonan is currently doing her fieldwork around hospitals and healing practises in the Tibet autonomous region. In this episode, the strangers … Continue reading Ep #78 Alternative Healing Practises & The Social Status of Shopping Centres: This Month on TFS
Understanding My Mom’s Unorthodox Healing Practices
Sheets of newspaper cover a portion of the floor of our house in Manila, and on top of those thin pieces of paper sits a white candle, a box of matches, a metal spoon, and a metal basin filled with water. The doors are locked. We’re huddled around the basin, and the room plunges into silence. Rest assured, this is not some scene from a B-rated supernatural horror movie. This is just what happens whenever anyone in my family gets sick. We call an albularyo—Tagalog for witch doctor or folk healer—to come and conduct either tawas or hilot depending on the degree of illness. All my life, I’ve never really understood nor tried to understand why my mom rarely sends us for check-ups, opting instead for tawas, hilot, and the occasional pharmaceutical drugs we self-medicate ourselves with. That is, until I took an Introduction to Anthropology course, where I encountered the term “structural violence” and the whole world of medical anthropology.